Student Services :: Advising Center

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Information

To comply with federal laws (the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989), colleges must provide in writing to all students and employees the following information as part of a commitment to the prevention of the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol.

Standards of Conduct and Disciplinary Sanctions for Alcohol/Drug Offense

Virginia Western students and employees may not possess, use, or distribute any illegal drugs while on campus, attending a college-sponsored off-campus event, or while serving as a representative of the College at off-campus meetings. This prohibition includes alcoholic beverages, except where lawfully permitted. Furthermore, all college students and employees are expected to be unimpaired by the effects of illegal drugs or alcohol while on campus or officially representing the college off-campus. (Refer to VWCC Student Handbook and VWCC Employee Substance Abuse Plan)

The disciplinary procedures and penalties for student misconduct involving illegal drugs or alcoholic beverages are provided in Section IX of the Statement of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct of the VWCC Student Handbook. Serious violations of the policy may lead to expulsion and criminal charges. Any employee of the college who violates the standards of conduct stated in the VWCC Employee Substance Abuse Plan shall be subject to disciplinary action, including discharge and/or referral to an assistance or rehabilitation program, at the discretion of the college. In the event of apparent violations of applicable state or federal laws, employees may also face criminal charges.

Applicable Legal Sanctions

The possession, distribution, or use of illicit drugs at or nearby a college is a violation of state and federal laws (Virginia Drug Control Act; Federal Controlled Substances Act). It is also unlawful for any person to consume alcoholic beverages in unlicensed public places (Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Act). Reported violations will be investigated by campus police and referred to appropriate public officials for criminal prosecution as warranted. (A description of state and federal prohibitions and penalties pertaining to illicit drugs and alcohol is provided later in this chapter.)

Health Risks Associated with Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Drugs and alcohol interfere with student learning and employee performance in the workplace. Use of drugs and alcohol can also have dangerous consequences for personal health and for the safety of others. A list of controlled substances and their effects is provided later in this chapter. Three of the more commonly abused drugs are highlighted below:

  • Alcohol impairs judgment and coordination; can cause damage to the brain, heart, liver and pancreas; increases the risk of birth defects; high doses can cause respiratory depression and death.
  • Marijuana has been linked to lung cancer, memory loss, slowed reaction time when driving, depression of the immune system, and complications for pregnant women.
  • Crack/Cocaine can cause convulsions, infection, heart attack, stroke, respiratory failure, brain seizures, psychosis, and death.

Counseling Services and Treatment Programs

Numerous community and state agencies, medical facilities, and private outpatient counseling/treatment programs are available to help Virginia Western students and employees dealing with substance abuse problems. A few examples are listed below:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous 343-6857
  • Blue Ridge Community Services 345-4002
  • Discovery at Saint Albans 981-8181
  • Lewis-Gale Center for Behavioral Health (Alcohol & Chemical Dependency Treatment) 776-1100
  • Lewis Gale Psychiatric Center 772-2800
  • Life Center, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment 800/345-6998
  • Mount Regis Treatment Center 389-4761
  • State Employee Assistance Service 703-552-8960

Students or employees may first seek advice from a college advisor regarding advice and referral for appropriate treatment.  Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent permitted by law. For more information, contact the Advising/Retention Office (857-7237) or Human Resources (857-7282).

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